Sen. Arroyo: It’s about time to amend ConstitutionBy Cathy Yamsuan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Senator Joker Arroyo on Sunday said he foresees a reexamination of the 25-year old Constitution since the world order has changed dramatically since it was drafted in 1986.
But any effort to amend the Constitution would push through only if it has Malacañang’s blessings, Arroyo added.
“It’s about time we amend or at least modify the Constitution because there are provisions that are already outmoded. However, we must be very careful in identifying which provisions must be changed,” Arroyo pointed out.
The lawmaker said the Constitution ratified in 1987 was “designed to weaken the presidency, especially after the martial law experience.”
“We did not like idea of a very powerful President so to correct this, the Constitutional Commission (Concom) drafted a Charter that diminished the powers of the President,” he explained.
But on the contrary, Arroyo observed that the President has become more powerful than before.
For example, he said any attempt to alter the Constitution would need his imprimatur. Otherwise, the effort would not succeed.
“We have a very centralized government. Things happen at the President’s say-so,” the senator said.
Arroyo noted that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. are set to meet and discuss Charter change (Chacha).
“Can you imagine the Senate President and the Speaker talking and the President does not know about it?” he asked in a radio interview. “The fact is, if Malacañang does not want it, nothing would come out of it.”
The senator, who once represented the Senate in arguments against constitutional change before the Supreme Court, said opposition to all previous attempts at Chacha was bolstered by the suspicion that the incumbent president wanted to alter provisions that limited the single term of the President.